Protest sign? Check. Black Lives Matter T-shirt? Of course. Socks that depict police as pigs? Perfect!
Are you ready for some football? Here it comes, starting tonight, complete with protesters, whiny liberal broadcasters and millionaire players complaining about the “oppressed.” On the weekend that marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11. And it needs to stop, before activists wreck the game and offend millions of fans who just want to enjoy themselves.
America’s national sports pastime – football – has merged with our other pastime – PC activists trying to destroy something people enjoy. Fans no longer simply care about stars’ on-field heroics. It’s about the points scored by social justice warriors on and off the field.
Football is a natural target. It’s seen as a violent, testosterone-laden bastion of masculinity. (As if that were bad.) The sport and its commercials are crammed with beer, cheerleaders and high-calorie snacks. Teams pay homage to our military and celebrate the National Anthem.
Everything a politically correct liberal hates.
Football lost yardage fast. The league was pressured on diversity. Rather than make a sport that is 68.7 percent African-American look more like America, activists demanded coaches who better reflect the players playing. The league conceded but activists claim enforcement isn’t good enough.
The roster of lefty causes followed – from the Redskins’ name to guns. Activists tried to bully Washington into dropping its name because a tiny number of Native Americans were offended.
Sports journalists fought the Redskins more than Custer. They compared Washington’s team name to Nazis, the KKK and the Confederate flag. Some wouldn’t even use the name. Liberal football commentator Bob Costas declared: “Every dictionary defines Redskin as an insult, a slur, a derogatory or pejorative term.” Fans refused to agree and the team is winning that contest, for now.
Costas didn’t stop there. He used another "Sunday Night Football" commentary to crusade against guns, too. He blamed a murder-suicide involving a Kansas City Chiefs player and the player’s girlfriend on America’s gun culture.
The NFL made things worse, mishandling legitimate health concerns over concussions and suspending players at random for problems such as crime and domestic abuse.
The league grew desperate to placate liberal activists. The league negotiated for the Rams to draft openly gay Michael Sam. In exchange, the team avoided the distraction of being the subject of that season’s "Hard Knocks" program. Lefty ESPN, run by a former Rolling Stone staffer, made a huge deal of Sam kissing his boyfriend on draft day. One ESPN staffer called that kiss “the V-J Day photo of 2014.”
Then the anti-police protests invaded the NFL’s territory. Last season, four Rams entered a game with their hands raised in a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture. It didn’t matter that the original incident never happened. ESPN called the protest “something that inspires you.”
This year, Browns running back Isaiah Crowell posted an inflammatory image on Instagram showing what looked like an ISIS terrorist slitting the throat of a police officer. The picture was so offensive, Facebook banned it. Crowell apologized and donated $35,000 to a Dallas police charity to make the controversy go away. The league did nothing.
Then came Colin Kaepernick’s stunt, the culmination of months of Twitter posts on race, “white supremacy,” Black Lives Matter and Trump. Other players have already backed Kaepernick, and reporters claim he has widespread support throughout the league.
Thankfully, that’s not universal. Some teams have stood up for the Anthem or the police. The New York Giants lined up during the Anthem – right on the field. The Cowboys had tried to put an “Arm in Arm” decal on their helmets to honor five officers killed in Dallas, but that was too American for the left-leaning NFL. The league forbade it.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is trying to calm the controversy he helped create through inaction. He’s defending Kaepernick’s right to be a jerk but claiming, “we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL.” He’s doing his quarterback impersonation, waving the crowd to quiet, which doesn’t seem likely to work.
Now the football world is divided into teams on the eve of 9/11 – an attack that once united us. If players and activists choose to bash America on such an important anniversary, they might find Americans have better ways to spend their Sundays.
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.